CofC students' theory leads to Revolutionary War trench discovery

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - College of Charleston students braved the rain on Friday to wrap up a project where they worked with archaeologists to excavate a trench used in the Revolutionary War.

It's a dig that's lasted for days behind the Aiken-Rhett house with professional archaeologists teaming up with students.

"I think this project really helped me reaffirm a lot of my field skills, really helped me fine tune a lot of the skills, and it really made me fall back in love with archeology," said Gabriel Melrod, a senior at the College of Charleston.

The team started with a theory that a piece of land had some history laying a few feet below ground.

"We didn't know what we were going to find, we weren't sure if our suspicions were correct," Melrod said.

But on Thursday, they found an answer.

"We found the trench and began to dig it out and excavate it," Melrod said."And we found a musket lead shot."

The archaeologists were digging in a pit when they found the bullet which is the size of a dime.

But the small bullet was pretty significant.

"They seem to have uncovered a piece of the British siege lines that would have been used to attack Charleston," said Carl Borick, director of the Charleston Museum.

The bullet dates back to about 1780.

That means the trench is from the Revolutionary War.

"This is a significant find," Borick said."We've never found any part of the Revolutionary siege lines before."

And it's a find the students are proud to be part of.

"People are going to look back on it and know what happened here," Melrod said."And it's going to be a much more complete story now that we've found the trench."

It's a complete story at the site. But for the College of Charleston students, it's just the first chapter in their story.

The archaeologists say the digging may be done, but there's still a lot of work to do.

Now they begin analyzing their findings, mapping the area, and hopefully finding more trenches.

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